A newly formed committee of the American Veterinary Medical Association has been tasked with helping veterinary medicine graduates as they enter a job market where earnings and employment offers are on the decline.
The Early Career Development Committee, announced Tuesday, consists of five recent graduates, two “emerging leaders” who graduated five to 15 years ago, a faulty adviser and a representative of the American Society of Veterinary Medical Association Executives.
The committee “will engage young veterinarians in open discussions about the challenges they face and will use that input to help develop new AVMA programs that serve their unique needs,” said Doug Aspros, DVM, president of the AVMA.
Networking opportunities and an online community are part of the find-finding effort, the association reported.
The committee is being established at a time when veterinary students face a turbulent job market. The percentage of fourth-year veterinary students graduating with the offer of a job or an advanced educational opportunity declined to 61.5 percent in 2012 from 78.9 percent in 2010, the AVMA reported Wednesday.
The average starting salary for students accepting employment declined by 3 percent, from $46,971 in 2011 to $45,575 this year, according to the AVMA’s annual survey. Excluding graduates who pursued advanced education, the average starting salary dropped 1.6 percent, from $66,469 in 2011 to $65,400 in 2012.
“We are concerned that we are beginning to see trends in both the number of jobs offered and starting salaries,” Dr. Aspros said.
Meanwhile, the 89 percent of students who graduated with college debt owed 6.4 percent more this year, from $142,613 in 2011 to $151,672 in 2012.
The AVMA reported that it is collaborating with the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, veterinary school deans, state and federal governments, and other stakeholders to help students minimize and manage their debt. The association also is engaged in a workforce study, being conducted by the forecasting firm HIS Global Insight, that will focus on the supply and demand of veterinary jobs across all sectors of the profession.